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Crying European tears
Crying European tears
Jillian Deutsch

When Big Ben struck midnight, its bells didn't just signal the start of a new day. They also marked a sea change in geopolitics.

That was the moment Prime Minister Theresa May chose to sign a letter of intent that officially begins the UK's departure from the EU. The date had been marked on everyone's calendars since the UK voted to break away from the EU on June 30 of last year. Thus, with a stroke of her pen, May made March 29 an historic day.

The world was ready. Papers around the world prepped their best Brexit front pages, with everything from a serious-looking royal guardsman to the Queen herself, wading alone on a small raft in the English Channel, waving goodbye the continent. One government official in Brussels told Politico Europe that other EU countries just want Britain "out now, no matter how much pain it will cause — a bit like the ninth month of pregnancy."

Only the beginning

Expect the Kingdom's government-sanctioned middle finger to dominate headlines all day and the rest of the week. The Independent wrote a mock version of May's letter, in which she writes to European Council President Donald Tusk that she simply wants two things: "1. All of the good stuff. 2. None of the bad stuff." The EU will respond to Britain by the end of the week.

Britain's uncharted journey out of the EU (the Lisbon Treaty article that details the EU-exit process is only five paragraphs) will be a lengthy, often boring and contentious saga that will last two years — possibly more. A Le Monde editorial said the negotiations will perhaps be "the most complicated of all time."

The Financial Times has a projected timeline of the process, and the BBC answered all the basic Brexit questions you might be too embarrassed to ask. But one thing is sure: March 29 is only the beginning.

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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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